Even though I was hired to be a middle school pastor when I first came to my church, I sometimes have doubts about the ministry and my role in it. The doubts have mostly to do with my lack of patience at times, than anything else. But recently I've had an upsurge (if that's a word) of passion for that area of ministry...and two stories surfaced last night that add to why I think middle school ministry is so great.
We have a student, who I will call "micheal", who has a bad family history. Used to live in Florida, now living with grandparents here. Sometimes he is a little hard to control. Dad's not reliable (hard to be when you're in jail). So, the other night, at the beginning of our regular time micheal comes in with a most serious look on his face and says, "Josh, I need to talk to you sometime tonight." Since we were getting ready to start, I said we'd need to chat afterwards. We did all the stuff middle school ministry is so great at, stupid games, praying for each other, object lesson and discussion. Afterward, I had forgotten about micheal, and he came up to me...
So, we went to the side of things where we wouldn't be interupted by bouncing balls or frolicking girls. He looks at me imploringly and then looks to his right and left and back to me. "Where did God come from, Josh?"
here this whole time I thought he was going to talk to me about something going on at home, something about him having to be with his dad or something. I have never been asked this question with such earnestness and honesty. it had always been posed to me as some smart aleck response or some theoretical question in philosophy class. But here it was, being posed to me by an honest scrawny middle schooler, like his life depended on it.
Question #2 and 3
This story comes from Aubrey's group, where they were discussing Romans 12:1, which talks about offering your life as a living sacrifice to God. We were trying to talk about how God changes us and how we have to offer ourselves to him in order for that to happen. But in the middle of the discussion the kid asks, "So, does this mean I am supposed to commit suicide for God?"
"Well, no..." says Aubrey. "that's not exactly what the writer is trying to say. but it's kind of that way. we must kill the old self in order for God to bring out his newness in us."
"Why was the Bible written so we can't understand it?"
Ah, how I love the earnestness of middle school students and how I love how they take things literally and ask honest and unguarded questions.